Italy: May 2016: Part 2: Bologna and Venice

This continues from my earlier post: Italy part 1

Italy-map altered

Our Route

For our week in Italy we had booked three nights in Rome and three in Bologna. Why Bologna? Well for several reasons: firstly, Bologna is conveniently located between Venice and Florence, where accommodation is more expensive, secondly, Pegasus have only three flight destinations in Italy: Rome, Milan and Bologna, thirdly because there is a lot to see in Bologna and finally because Bologna is reputedly the culinary capital of Italy (and I love Italian cuisine).

Bologna is nicknamed La Rossa because of its colourful red building and its history of left-wing militancy.

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Bologna

It took a little over two hours to reach Bologna on a fast train from Rome, which reached speeds of 300km/h (186mph) along the way. Arriving at the station, we bought tickets for Venice for the following day, left our bags at the hotel and headed to the centre to see what Bologna had to offer. Bologna has miles of colonnaded walkways, which provide shelter from rain, traffic and summer sun. In the centre there is Fontana del Nettuno (Neptune’s Fountain), a striking bronze statue of Neptune sculpted by Giambologna stands atop the fountain at the corners of the fountain are four buxom sirens representing the four continents of the pre-Oceania world.

We also discovered that it isn’t just Pisa that has leaning towers. Bologna has a pair of leaning towers from the 12th Century. The taller of the two is the Torre degli Asinelli, 97.6 metres high and leaning 1.3m off the vertical, the shorter is the Torre Garisenda, 48m high and leaning a drunken 3.2 m off the vertical.

 

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The Leaning Towers of Bologna

The following day (Friday), we took a slower and cheaper train to Venice. 35 years after I had originally planned to visit Venice, I finally arrived. As had the rain. Our first action was to buy  a Vaporetto Pass and take the Vaporetto (water bus) to the island of Giudecca.

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Khato with umbrella on a bridge in Giudecca. Venice is like walking into a history book or a Hollywood set. There are so many historic buildings and all those canals and bridges give it a certain magical quality.

Typical Venetian scene

Typical Venetian scene

We wandered around hiding from the rain in the colonnades around St Mark’s Square, before hopping on a vaporetto  to the Rialto Bridge, which spans the Grand Canal. After a lunch comprising of a couple of slices of pizza, which the pigeons ended up fighting over, we took another vaporetto to the island of Murano. Murano is world renowned for its glass.The tourist shops make a point that their glass is made in Murano and not imported from China. Unfortunately, we arrived in Murano too late for a demonstration of glass blowing but we saw many of Murano’s celebrated wares.

Then, we hopped back on a vaporetto to Ferrovia (the train station stop) and returned to Bologna.

Khato and I in Murano

Khato and I in Murano

Continued in Italy Part 3 : Florence

 

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